It was Canada’s 100th anniversary of “Confederation” in 1967. Expo 67, the World’s Fair was in Montreal to celebrate our anniversary. The Montreal Canadiens was the team expected to bring home the Stanley Cup to cap this celebration. It was also the final year of the “Original Six” National Hockey League as it was known, which consisted of the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens had dominated the league for the past 11 years winning the Stanley Cup 7 times, with only Chicago taking the cup in 1961 and Toronto winning the Cup in 1962, 63 and 64. The Chicago Black Hawks led by Stan Mikita (tops in points) and Bobby Hull (leading goal scorer) had finished on top of the standings by a wide margin but the Montreal Canadiens were peaking and were favoured along with Chicago to be in the finals.
To many, this will bring back memories of the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs put it all together to win their last Stanley Cup, and to those of you who were not around back in the Sixties, this will just be a piece of hockey history.
Here I have attempted to put together that final season of the "Original Six" for you to browse.
I hope you enjoy the time you spend here, and that I can help to bring back some of the memories of the 66-67 National Hockey League Season and the players of the "Original Six".
The Leafs were mostly a veteran hockey team, with players like Johnny Bower (age 42), Allan Stanley (age 41), Red Kelly (age 39) Terry Shawchuk (age 37),Tim Horton (age 37), George Armstrong (age 36), andMarcel Pronovost (age 36). The younger players included players like Bob Pulford (age 31), Bob Baun (age 30), Eddie Shack (age 30), Frank Mahovlich (age 29), Dave Keon (age 27) and one of the youngsters Ron Ellis (age 22).
The Leafs finished 3rd, this year, and through the regular season they set two futility records, one which was their longest winless streak of eleven games which also included their longest losing streak of ten games. Frank "King" Clancy took over behind the bench when "Punch" Imlach was admitted to the hospital.
In their opening game of the semi-finals against the Chicago Black Hawks, they lost 5-2 and Johnny Bower was replaced by Terry Sawchuk. Toronto rebounded behind the solid goal-tending of Sawchuk and the team's fore-checking to beat Chicago in six games. Injuries to Chicago's goal-tender Glen Hall and to Bobby Hull also figured in to some degree, and as a result few people expected much when the Leafs met the Montreal Canadiens in the final. Montreal, going into the finals were on a fifteen game undefeated streak, led by rookie goal-tender Rogie Vachon.
Terry Sawchuk started the first game of the finals but loss 6-2 to Montreal. Johnny Bower took over the net-minding in the second game and shutout Montreal right in the Forum. The Leafs took a one game lead in the finals with an overtime win on a goal by Bob Pulford in the second overtime, but Toronto lost some momentum going into game four when Johnny Bower was injured during the pre-game warm up. Sawchuk replaced Bower and was soundly beaten 6-2 which tied the series at two games apiece going back to Montreal. Terry Sawchuk made up for that game, backing his teammates to a 4-1 win and they headed back to Toronto for game six. Montreal replaced Vachon with Gump Worsley, but the Canadiens could only beat Terry Sawchuk once. The Leafs when on to win that final game 3 - 1 with Jim Pappin scoring what turned out to be the winning goal at 19:24 of the second period. Leaf Captain, George Armstrong iced the game with 47 seconds remaining in the game scoring into the empty net, giving the Toronto Maple Leafs their last Stanley Cup up until this date.
The back bone of the Leafs were the aging pair of goal-tenders, that being Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower. Between them they helped the Leafs to their last Stanley Cup victory to this date.
"GO ALL THE WAY"
A look at the 1966-67 NHL Season as seen by